A joint report from Staffing Industry Analysts and ERE Media found the median usage of non-employed workers was 16%; for the heaviest users, it is at nearly 50%, based on a survey conducted in January. What does it mean for you?

Total talent management (TTM) is an emerging method of dealing with the complex challenges related to talent acquisition and management. Organizations increasingly utilize a wide range of talent types. And the report, “Total Talent Management – Towards an Integrated Strategy for the Employed and Non-Employed Workforce,” details the visibility organizations currently have into their workforces and provides insights into the perceived benefits and challenges of adopting a TTM workforce model.

The concept of TTM integrates and engages the full range of talent sources, from traditional employees to a wide variety of non-employee workers — temporary workers; independent contractors / consultants / freelancers; volunteers; outsourced resources; and even non-human options such as robots, drones and cognitive computing applications. The most common categories of non-employed workers were temporary workers and independent contractors / consultants / freelancers (62% of firms surveyed use both categories).

“The concept of total talent management is in its infancy, with only a few leading-edge examples of practical implementation,” said Barry Asin, president at Staffing Industry Analysts. “But as more companies adopt this strategy, instead of making sourcing decisions in silos, they’ll be able to tap into the full range of available talent resources, both employed and non-employed. By using a properly managed blended workforce, companies will be better able to optimize competitive performance to meet spikes or reductions in demand as well as balance labor costs and workforce agility.”

Properly engaging all forms of workers will also enable organizations to ensure non-employed workers are effectively motivated to represent their organization alongside the employed workforce. A TTM approach enables organizations to address the key aspects of their workforces by:

  • Identifying the type of workers needed and in what ratio to maximize productivity/cost-effectiveness
  • Determining who is doing work on behalf of the organization and the reputational and legal risks to which the organization is exposed
  • Measuring the real cost of various workers and optimal pay and benefits
  • Integrating contingent and other non-employed workers with an employed workforce
  • Developing training and career paths for workers of all types
  • Motivating and engaging all those doing work on behalf of the organization
  • Addressing skills shortages

Poor visibility. The report noted the dismal state of visibility organizations have into their talent. For instance, less than half of the organizations surveyed had a good understanding of their employees’ motivations, skills and productivity, and 20% to 30% don’t know how many workers they have, the number of open positons or total labor costs. Additionally, while organizations generally believe they should try harder to motivate employees, they’re more indifferent about motivating non-employed workers. Only 10% to 20% make significant efforts to motivate their non-employed workers.

“The time is right for total talent management to address workforce challenges and HR leaders, partnering with procurement, should drive the evolution of a TTM approach,” said Ron Mester, CEO and president at ERE Media. “The adoption of total talent management is going to take time and work, but those companies with the vision and competence to drive TTM forward will reap a clear, competitive advantage.”

The TTM report was based, in part, on a survey sent to a global database of 47,000. Full responses came from 628 executives and suppliers of HR and recruitment products and services. Large organizations with more than 1,000 employees represented more than half of all respondents and almost three-quarters were at an executive, senior or middle management level.